A dog bite can be a frightening experience. Often, the attack leaves a victim with serious physical injuries and lingering emotional scars. Unfortunately, in many cases, the incident should have never occurred. It directly results from a dog owner’s negligent handling of his or her pet. In these cases, victims have the right to demand justice.
At The Law Office of David E. Gordon, we represent animal attack victims and their families in nearby areas of Memphis in Tennessee and Mississippi. We work hard to hold careless dog owners accountable, and our injury attorneys skillfully seek all available compensation for our clients. If you or a loved one recently suffered serious injuries in a dog attack, we are ready to help you. Contact our Memphis dog bite lawyer today.
David E. Gordon is a Board Certified Civil Trial Specialist who has practiced law in Memphis for more than 30 years. He understands the many legal, medical and insurance issues in dog attack cases and how to explore all legal options available to our clients. David and our legal team can put that skill and experience to work for you today.
When you contact The Law Office of David E. Gordon about your animal attack case, you will talk directly with a legal advisor. The attorney will listen closely to you, learn the details of your case and get to know more about how the dog bite has affected your life. We know how traumatic it can be to experience a dog attack. We will give you the attention and support you need during this difficult time.
As you get ready to talk with us about your dog bite case, you should do your best to take the following steps:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that roughly 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in our country, with children between the ages of 5 and 9 being the age group with the highest rate of dog bite-related injuries. However, Insurance Information Institute statistics indicate that only about 18,000 dog bite insurance claims are filed each year.
The disparity in those numbers suggests that a high number of dog attack victims take no action. This could be a mistake. If a dog owner’s careless or reckless handling of a dog caused you or a loved one to suffer injuries, then you have every right to seek just compensation for your medical expenses and other damages. You should act on that right.
In some cases, a dog bite victim may avoid taking legal action because the victim knows the dog and its owner. For instance, the owner may be a family member, friend or neighbor. However, it is important to realize that, in most cases, a personal injury claim will seek no recovery from the dog owner’s personal assets. Instead, the dog owner’s homeowners’ or renters’ insurance should cover the damages. Remember: the owner pays insurance premiums for this type of protection.
Dog bites can result in a wide range of severe, life-changing injuries, including:
If a negligent dog owner caused you or your loved one to suffer these injuries or other harm, you should not be left with the burden of paying for medical treatment and absorbing other financial losses. This is why it is important to contact a Memphis legal advisor and learn more about your rights and options.
Although you could choose to deal with the dog owner’s insurance company on your own, you may end up with a settlement that provides less compensation than you would otherwise receive if you worked with a legal representative. This is because an experienced dog bite attorney will know how to pursue the maximum amount for you.
For instance, when you work with The Law Office of David E. Gordon, we will take steps such as:
Additionally, our law firm will represent you on a contingency fee basis. This means that we will assume the risk of pursuing your case. You will pay no fees unless we obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf. To learn more about how a Memphis dog bite lawyer from our firm can help you, contact us today and discuss your case in a free consultation.
As you move forward, you should understand the legal options that could be available to you in your case. Those options will depend on many factors, including where the attack occurred. This is because dog bite laws vary from state to state. Let’s start with a look at the laws in Tennessee.
For many years, Tennessee followed the “one-bite rule.” Under this rule, a dog owner could not be held liable for a dog bite unless the owner knew or reasonably should have known that the dog had previously attacked someone.
However, in 2007, Tennessee enacted a strict liability statute (Tenn. Code § 44-8-413). Under this law, a dog owner can be held legally responsible if the victim demonstrates that:
However, the law has several exceptions. Under the statute, the dog owner cannot be held liable if:
Also, the law provides what is called “residential exclusion.” Under this rule, the victim would need to prove that the dog owner knew or reasonably should have known about the dog’s “dangerous propensities” if the dog bite occurred on a residential, farm or other non-commercial property that the dog owner owned, rented, or otherwise occupied with the property owner’s permission.
In addition to the dog bite liability statute, a victim in Tennessee could have other options to pursue, including bringing a claim against the dog owner or keeper (such as a kennel) for negligence. In some cases, the victim could establish negligence per se based on a violation of a local leash law. For instance, a city ordinance may require owners to keep their dogs on a leash when in public areas. You could be entitled to damages if you can show that the dog owner failed to follow this ordinance, and you suffered harm as a result of this violation.
In contrast to Tennessee, Mississippi does not have a dog bite liability statute. Instead, the state follows the “one-bite rule” that we discussed above. Again, to recover damages under this rule, a victim must establish that, before the attack occurred, the dog owner knew or reasonably should have known that the dog had “dangerous propensities.”
Additionally, as in Tennessee, the victim of a dog attack may pursue damages based on theories of negligence and negligence per se. You could bring those claims against the dog’s owner or anyone who was keeping the animal at the time of the attack and, in that sense, should be held responsible for any injuries that the dog caused. Contact our dog bite representative in Memphis today.
At The Law Office of David E. Gordon, we will aggressively pursue full compensation for the harm you have suffered due to a dog bite or animal attack. Whether the attack occurred in Tennessee or Mississippi, the damages we seek on your behalf in a personal injury claim may include:
If the dog bite resulted in the loss of a loved one, our law firm could pursue a wrongful death claim on your behalf. A wrongful death claim would seek unique types of damages such as compensation for funeral and burial costs as well as for the loss of your loved one’s affection and companionship and the financial support that he or she would have provided.
It is important to pay attention to the time restrictions that apply to bringing dog bite claims in Tennessee and Mississippi. These restrictions are called “statutes of limitations.”
Generally, in Tennessee, you would need to file a personal injury lawsuit within one year from the date when the dog bite occurred or a wrongful death claim within one year from the date of your loved one’s death. In Mississippi, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is three years from the date of the injury. The time limit for a wrongful death claim is three years from the date of death. In some cases, such as when the victim is a minor, exceptions may apply to these time restrictions.
Keep in mind that your Memphis lawyer will need time to thoroughly investigate, research and prepare your dog bite claim for filing. So, you should contact the Law Office of David E. Gordon as soon as you are ready to take action.
At the Law Office of David E. Gordon, we take pride in providing outstanding service to our clients. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an animal attack in Tennessee or Mississippi, our law firm will give you the attention you deserve and fight aggressively for all compensation you are due. It starts with a free consultation with a Memphis dog bite lawyer. Call or reach us online today.